Shorinji Ryu Jujitsu 


Mr. Kennth Penland 10th Dan
What is Jujitsu?

Jujitsu (literally ``the gentle fighting art'') is an empty handed extension of the sword fighting art of the Japanese Samuarai. The actual ancient art is called Aiki Jujitsu. This involves joint locks, throws, strikes, blocks, and chokes. 2500 years ago reference was made to Jujitsu and its philosophies of which may have occurred during the Choon Chu era (772-481 BC) The period of Japanese history between the 8th and 16th centuries had civil war and many martial arts systems were used, practiced and perfected on the battlefield. This training was used to conquer armored and armed opponents during close fighting.

Some of the strengths of Jujitsu are being able to control an attacker without bodily harm or you have the option to use as much force as necessary.

Youths should start learning the basic of Jujitsu at the age of 3 such as falls and escapes but for more advance techniques I believe the age depends on the individual.

Jujitsu training includes the use of escrima stick or kubatons.  Ranking system includes White- Orange- Purple- Blue- Green- Brown- Black with 10 degrees of Black.

The United States Jujitsu Federation is the National Governing Body of Jujitsu in America as recognized by the International Jujitsu Federation and the Olympic Committee and World Games. Akayama-Ryu Jujitsu is a fully recognized and certified traditional system.



Shorinji Ryu Jujitsu, From Kennth Panland

Spelled JuJutsu in Japanese, Ju means 'gentle', 'soft' or 'flexible' and Jutsu means 'skill' or 'art.' Hence Jujutsu is the flexible art. This unarmed martial art either originated in or found its way to Japan over 2,500 years ago. It focusses on striking vital points, joint locking and pain compliance, grappling and throwing opponents. The vital points that are targeted in many martial arts are the same pressure points that are used in healing techniques such as acupuncture.

The ability to strike pressure points accurately can be lethal, so this knowledge is taught gradually as the student progresses in skill and control. In addition to striking pressure points, the study of Jujutsu will teach you wrist locks, arm bars, take downs, throws, mat holds and choke holds.

From dealing with intimidation, to handling crowd control, to protecting yourself in a life-threatening situation, this martial arts system will give you the tools you need to face life with increased confidence. There are other groups teaching Shorinji Ryu Jujitsu, some are traditional and some teach a more modern version. We teach classical Shorinji Ryu Jujutsu as handed down through our lineage from Hanshi Kenneth Penland.

Hanshi Kenneth Lyle Penland has over 50 years in the martial arts. He began his training at age 5 under his father who was a Karate Black Belt. Mr. Penland is a retired Security Specialist for the LAPD, and Defensive Tactics Instructor for the Los Angeles Police Academy. He teaches Shorinji Ryu Jujitsu, Kyu Shin Ryu Aikijujutsu, Kenjutsu, and Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo Karate / Kobudo.

Sensei Penland has students all over the world and is available for seminars.He is the cheif instructor for the World Shorinji Ryu Jujutsu Association as well as the Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo Karate / Kobudo Federation and is the founder and president of the Kyu Shin Ryu Federation.

More History

JUJITSU JAPAN'S ART OF UNARMED COMBAT Japan's history and martial culture is that of an island people preoccupied with their own destiny. Yet, Japan was profoundly influenced by other Asian cultures. Chinese and even Korean cultures influenced Japan's early martial arts, writing, government and religion. Japan absorbed these outside influences and assimilated them into something uniquely Japanese.

For centuries feudal
Japan was locked into various power struggles for the control of rice fields known as fiefs. Throughout Japan's history Emperors ruled while Shoguns and Japanese warlords lead powerful armies against one another. Only after the country was united under Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1590 did a relative peace come to the land.

Thereafter, military dictators or Shoguns ruled Japan and adopted an isolationist policy, keeping foreigners out. In 1853 the west forced the beginning of trade relations and the modernization of Japan. In 1868 the Meiji restoration was begun and a country with a feudal society was transformed into an international industrialized nation in only half a century.

By 1931,
Japan had adopted a military expansionist policy, which lead the nation into World War II. After the war, Japan once again rebuilt itself to become a major world economic power. By the end of the nineteenth century, the ancient samurai martial disciplines of bujutsu took on a new philosophical outlook called "do" or the way.

Japan's martial arts then began to spread to western cultures. The emphasis of the ancient martial arts was now changed to self-perfection, character development and spirituality. The art of Jujitsu, which was forged during centuries of warfare became formalized in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the various styles were created. Jujitsu, which almost completely died out in Japan has now risen again in popularity on the contemporary scene.

Jujitsu is Japan's art of unarmed combat. It can be traced back over 2,000 years to Japan's ancient past. The term Jujitsu (also Jujutsu) is composed of two Japanese characters, Ju meaning gentle or yielding and Jitsu meaning art or technique. It has been noted that Jujitsu developed in response to the scenario in which an unarmed man defended himself against weapons. The idea behind this theory being that weapons such as swords and spears were developed first and that Jujitsu was developed later. Additionally, the classical warrior of Japan was clad entirely in armor. This made the use of atemi or striking techniques with bare hands and feet ineffective.

Therefore, it is only natural that the samurai or bushi used his sword as his primary weapon [at long range] and that close quarter individual combat was characterized by Kumiuchi or grappling methods. Jujitsu then was originally a secondary system of defense used only after the classical warrior made use of his weapons and then closed with opponent.

Only in the modern era, as the frequency of warfare on the field of battle declined, did ryu or styles specialize solely in empty-hand tactics and de-emphasize the use of weapons as a primary combative resource. Ju Jitsu, as an art of Japanese unarmed combat, developed from many sources within Japan. It also absorbed techniques, which found their way to Japan from other Asian countries, mainly China. Chinese Shaolin fighting techniques, especially atemi or striking were incorporated into Ju Jitsu.

Jujitsu can be traced back to
Japan's distant past to the Kojiki - Records of Ancient Matters where the ancient gods Kajima and Kadori used the art to chastise the lawless inhabitants of an eastern province. The earliest recorded mention of Jujitsu in Japanese mythology occurs during the period 772-481 BCE when open-handed techniques were used during the Choon Chu Era of China.

In 230 BCE , a wrestling art developed in Japan known as Chikura Kurabe and was integrated into Jujitsu training. Another well- documented legend that chronicles Jujitsu's history from the distant past is a tale about two champions who were pitted against one another in mortal combat. The bout took place in the seventh year of the reign of Emperor Suinin (29 BCE - 70 AD) One man was an imperial guard named Taema no Kuehaya, "A noble of great strength" and the other man was a champion from Izumo Province named Nomi no Sukune.

It seems in those days, almost any technique was permissible in order to subdue an opponent. In their bout only one man survived the contest. It was Sukune. He smashed Kuehaya's ribs with a kick, threw him to the ground and stomped him to death by crushing his loins (fracturing his hip bone).

About the beginning of the Christian era, two thousand years ago, there is also a mention of the development of wrestling and related techniques that served as the origin of Jujitsu. In fact, there is a noticeable relationship between the ancient Sumo wrestling techniques and Jujitsu. A number of Jujitsu schools developed from 23 BCE on.

There is also evidence that empty-handed techniques, used in conjunction with the samurai warrior's weapon training, were in use during the Heian period (ca. 784 AD). However, it is generally accepted that the first Jujitsu school documented in
Japan's ancient records was organized by Prince Teijin Fujiwara who was the sixth son of Emperor Seiwa Fujiwara (850-880 AD), Japan's 56th emperor.

The techniques of Teijin's Jujitsu were passed on to his son Tsunemoto. Tsunemoto was later given the name Minamoto. Teijin's descendants are known as the Seiwa Genji and they became some of Japan's most powerful warriors. One of the most well known of the Seiwa Genji was General Yoshimitsu Minamoto (d. 1120). He is also known as Yoshitsune and is depicted in many woodblock prints. He contributed greatly to the further advancement of Jujitsu. He perfected ways of using atemi or striking techniques and kansetsu waza, joint locking techniques.

He realized that a warrior's wrists and hands were unprotected by the samurai's armor. So, he developed techniques to be used against these joints or vulnerable areas. He is known to have dissected the bodies of criminals and war dead in order to better understand human body mechanics. Later, he lived in the Daito mansion of eastern Japan.

It is believed that this is how the Minamoto style came to be known as Daito Ryu Aikijujitsu. It is this form of Jujitsu that gave rise to Daito Ryu Aikijujitsu, the predecessor of modern Aikido. General Yoshimitsu's son, Yoshikiyu, who inherited the techniques of the Ryu lived in the province of Kai. It is said that the family name was changed to Takeda at this time. This is how the system came to be known as Takeda Ryu Aikijujitsu. Most of the credit for founding the "formal art of Japanese Jujitsu" is attributed to Takeuchi Hisamori (also, Takenouchi) who formed the Takeuchi Ryu school of Jujitsu in Japan in the year of Tenmon (1532).

Takeuchi is known as "the father of Jujitsu" and it is believed that his system of Jujitsu was completely originated inside of
Japan without any outside influences [from China] and that by 1532 Takeuchi Ryu was a complete Jujitsu system and fighting art. Takeuchi Ryu specializes in immobilizaton techniques and short range weapons such as the Tanto, Japanese dagger. The style was very popular and many samurai warriors studied its techniques and methods. Another source of technical information came to Jujitsu via China.

Around 1530 it is believed that a Japanese man by the name of Shirobei Akiyama from
Nagasaki went to China to study Chinese medicine. However, he also learned 28 methods of resuscitation, bone setting , body massage (jap. Shiatsu) and joint manipulation (articulation) as well as Chinese combative methods. He later founded the Yoshin Ryu school or willow hearted school based on the Chinese concept of pliability.

The legend regarding the founding of Yoshin Ryu states that Aikiyama after returning from China spent a long winter night in a monastery. While looking out the monastery window he noticed a heavy snow was falling. As he watched, the snow began to pile up on the branches of a cherry tree. Eventually, as the load increased, the cherry tree snapped and broke because of the tree's resistance to the weight of the snow. Alongside the cherry tree was a willow tree. Snow piled up on its branches as well. However, as the snow was piling up on its branches it bent with the load and then suddenly sprang back shedding its burden of snow.

Supposedly, this provided the inspiration for Akiyama to name his school Yoshin Ryu, the willow hearted school. This was followed by Hideyoshi Toyotomi who returned from Korea to Japan. He brought Chuan Fa and Korean Tang Su, punching and nerve striking skills to Japan, which were incorporated into Jujitsu. Another influence on Jujitsu came when a Buddhist monk by the name of Chin Gempei (Chinese, Ch'en Yuan-Pin; 1587-1674), migrated from China to Japan.

He brought kenpo or Chinese empty-hand fighting techniques with him. During his stay in
Japan from 1644 to 1648 he resided at the Kokuseiji temple in Azabu, Edo. Three ronin named Shichiroemon Fukuno, Yojiemon Miura and Jirouemon Isogai lived with Chin and studied his methods of kenpo. Later, each one of these samurai developed Jujitsu systems of their own. As a result, the Chinese fighting techniques, especially atemi or strikirrg were incorporated into Ju Jutsu.

Sometimes Chin is credited with the founding of the Kito Ryu style of Jujitsu. During the Tokugawa era (1603-1868), known as the golden age of Jujitsu, the art continued to flourish as part of the samurai warrior's training. During this time Jujitsu grew in popularity and developed even further.

Over the course of about fifty years during the Kanei, Manji and Kanbun eras (1624-1673) numerous Jujitsu experts established schools and the art was taught widely. These schools were known as Yawara, Taijutsu, Kumiuchi, Kenpo, Torite, Kogusoku and Taido, etc. Yawara is another name for Jujitsu and made use of a short stick for atemi and applying pressure to nerve points. Taijutsu literally means body arts;

Kumiuchi implies grappling; Kenpo is a term used to infer a striking method and Torite impilies joint locking and controlling an opponent. These systems all included throwing techniques, strangling, joint locking and striking techniques. Each Ryu specialized in some method of attack or defense and used the concept of Ju, i.e. pliancy or flexibility. Because the Tokugawa Bakafu (tent government) prohibited the carrying of swords by commoners it increased interest in unarmed methods of combat. Actually, at this point Jujitsu split into two directions or mainstreams of development.

One was the original secondary system of the classical warrior and the other was a new kind of law enforcement defensive tactic used to preserve law and order within an otherwise peaceful society. During the Edo period (1603-1868), the golden age of Jujitsu, there was a shift in emphasis from weapons training as a primary subject of study within each ryu to training in empty hand techniques. The is characterized by the fact that Takenouchi Ryu added some purely empty hand techniques called torite or restraining methods to its syllabus at this time.

Another style called Yagyu Shigan Ryu developed about this time and developed many empty hand tactics and grappling methods as part of its training repertoire. Indeed, even
Miyamoto Musashi, Japan's greatest swordsman studied Yawara ge an earlier name for Jujitsu) which was a method of grappling using no weapons. It is also obvious that during this period of further development, Jujitsu used many techniques derived from sumo, an ancient form of Japanese wrestling. Although, sumo which dates back to Chikara Kurabe, which was a form of wrestling practiced as early as 230 BCE, was an integral part of festivals and other public events.

However, even though there is a relationship between sumo and the martial arts of the samurai i.e., Jujitsu, sumo was always a sport and never a martial art or battlefield method of the Bushi or samurai warrior class. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were an era in which the formal schools of Jujitsu developed. The various ryu, in a time of relative peace, were systematized from countless methods of unarmed combat from the warrior culture of previous centuries.

Additionally, it is also quite clear that many Jujitsu techniques such as kiri otoshi (literally: cutting drop) were derived from the manipulation of weapons. The tactics of weapons such as swords and spears inspired many unarmed techniques. There were certain original or "mother schools" from which many of the variant and numerous styles of Jujitsu developed. Almost every school claimed a lineage (keizu) or genealogy to link the style to past masters of some "mother school" or original teaching. (Perhaps, a manifestation of ancestor worship from the Shinto and Buddhist religions).

Thus insuring a purity of origin so necessary and so unique to Japanese martial culture. A case in point is Tenjin Shin'yo Ryu, which has a lineage to and is a combination of Yoshin Ryu and Shin no Shindo Ryu. Another style, which is an example of a hereditary ryu (blood line) as opposed to a ryu ha that claims at least twelve generations of masters within its genealogy or bloodline is Takenouchi Ryu. This cultural trait is inherent in Japanese martial arts thinking and exists in order to bridge a credibility gap (which exists only in the minds of those who subscribe to this way of thinking - Purity of Origin).

Therefore, the assumption is that if a ryu has a pedigree and its lineage is pure its physical techniques must be good too! The only problem with this is that some schools with a pure lineage are oftentimes stagnated and do not exhibit as high a quality of martial skill as some systems that are more recent in origin. (Although, the reverse can be true as well.) The point is that the "mother schools" tended to become insular by practicing so long within their own body of knowledge and curricula.

Traditionally in
Japan, mixing styles is considered to be taboo and creates "muddy water". Although, paradoxically from an evolutionary standpoint this is how the various styles were created. Even though many times styles and techniques were shrouded in secrecy, they ultimately blended together i.e., absorbed each others techniques, and created yet another new style.

Therefore, notwithstanding the air of secrecy surrounding the teachings of a ryu, a universal pool of knowledge did exist with respect to unarmed (and armed) methods of combat in Japan since ancient times. It is the intermingling or exchanging of ideas, concepts and techniques, which breeds the creativity necessary for the further development of martial arts. This is relevant even today in contemporary times.

This is the paradox of the Japanese ryu or clan concept. An interesting story with regard to this concept is the time when Miyamoto Musashi ventured into a dojo to train with members of a school in
Tokyo ( Edo). The students and seniors said to Musashi "What style are you". He said, "I have no formal style. The moon and stars have been my teachers". They laughed at him because he didn't come from a recognized ryu. However, later that day the training turned more serious and Musashi killed many of them before leaving that dojo.

Yet another concept in Japanese martial culture, which guided the development of Jujitsu styles is called Shuhari. This doctrine has existed for a long time in the Japanese martial arts as well as other arts such as the tea ceremony. Shu literally means learning from tradition. It means to follow the teachings of past masters with strict adherence. Ha means to reject or doubt anything that disrupts the following of Shu. Ri means to break the chains of tradition i.e., to transcend or separate from the first two and improve upon the teachings of previous masters. In other words, the student becomes the master.

These are stages of evolution in the development of a master and that of the evolution of martial styles. It is the author's interpretation that Shuhari means that "We should follow tradition but not become slaves to it." In any case, the founding of the various ryu was an expression of the different masters and their reaction to the social climate of the times. Additionally, it is also quite clear that many Jujitsu techniques such as kiri otoshi (literally: cutting drop) were derived from the manipulation of weapons.

The tactics of weapons such as swords and spears inspired many unarmed techniques. The various ryu also differed not only in techniques or tactics but in their approach to overall fighting strategy. To prove their fighting strategies and individual techniques worked or that one school was superior to another the various schools often partiscipated in bloody competition by engaging in publicly held tournaments or private duels in order to see which school would prevail and which school was best.

Tactically, Yoshin Ryu was known for its striking and immobilization techniques. The Takenouchi ryu is known for its techniques of immobilization and Kito Ryu is famed for its throwing techniques or nage waza. Tenjin Shinyo Ryu is recognized for its expertise in striking or atemi waza. On a strategic level the various ryu differed in their philosophies with regard to the value of attack or defense.

The Aiki Jujitsu schools geared their strategies towards reacting to an opponent's attack and therefore are more defensive i.e., letting the opponent's attack actually be his own undoing. While others, such as Hakko Ryu favor pure neutralization of an attack with no emphasis on counterattack.

The concept of taking the initiative or attacking first (sen no sen) inspired other schools. Iaijutsu or the art of quick drawing and cutting in one motion evolved in response to changing times. In the Edo Period (1603-1868) the warrior class was no longer concerned with fighting in military campaigns on the battlefield with swords drawn (kenjutsu) but rather they were concerned with a sneak attack in sword play which could come unexpectedly and at any moment. Hence, Iaijutsu.

This principle of attack from swordsmanship also influenced the strategies of various Jujitsu schools. These strategies are reflected in a modern style of Karate Do called Wado Ryu founded by Hironori Ohtsuka (1892-1982). This style is actually a combination of Shotokan Karate and Shin no Shindo Ryu Jujitsu. In Ohtsuka sensei's book Wado Ryu Karate he writes: In a contest there is both machite and kakete. Machite is the method with which one responds when the opponent strikes first; kakete is the opposite. There are two kinds of machite. Kakete has only one. Win or loss is decided by these three. The first of the machite, "gosen-no-te," defends and simultaneously attacks - hence, it is defend / attack. The second of the machite, "sensen-no-sente," strikes the enemy as he is about to make his first strike while defending that strike. Hence, one strikes before the opponent strikes. Hence, it is defend / attack as well. When defense and attack are separate, one is often pushed into defense only. It must be remembered that offense is also the best defense. "Sente," the kakete, attacks first by catching the opponent off-guard, or forcing the opponent into such a state. Also, the opponent is not dumb - he will respond with one of the above three; thus, one must be careful to not fall victim to it himself. Therefore, these actions go back and forth; in addition, remember to maintain a good mind-set and a good pocket of space between you and the opponent.

Thank you, Ken Penland and George Alexander